This chapter defines word meaning in terms of speaker meaning and expression. The definition is recursive: in the basic case, individual words and idioms have meaning because of what they are conventionally used to mean; the recursion clause (the basis of compositionality) is provided by the fact that word structures are conventionally used to express certain idea structures. Different kinds of language are distinguished. What words mean today in living languages is dependent on the conventions that evolve from those of prior users of the language.
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